Business in Brief

Antitrust chief seeks to force IEC workers to hook up private power station

Antitrust Commissioner David Gilo on Thursday sought an injunction from the antitrust tribunal to force Israel Electric Corporation workers to connect the Dalia power station to the national electricity grid. IEC employees walked off the site two weeks ago on instructions from union boss David ‏(Miko‏) Zarfati in what Gilo called an abuse of the company’s status as a monopoly. The tribunal said it would hold an urgent hearing on the request on Monday. Earlier this week, however, the Haifa Labor Court ruled that workers were entitled to refuse to connect the privately-owned Dorad power station to the grid as long as the government refuses to open negotiations with them over industry reforms. ‏(Avi Bar-Eli‏)

Netanyahu calling for a tablet for every child

Following the distribution of over 55,000 personal computers in the framework of the government’s “Computer for every Child” project, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is now calling for “a tablet for every child.” Addressing the public council in charge of the project Thursday, Netanyahu said, “The computer for every child project, and now a tablet for every child, is meant to close the digital gap and allow children in Israel whose families can’t afford one to receive the latest technology.” Deputy Minister in the Prime Minister’s Office Ofer Akunis, who also serves as chairman of the council, said, “This is not just a digital project, but primarily a social project. In order to close the social gaps, we can’t give children the computer kits they were given in the 1990s. The entire field is rapidly changing.” ‏(Moti Bassok‏)

Cell phone, communication reform saved consumers NIS 3.2b in 2012

Consumers saved NIS 3.2 billion in communications costs in 2012 compared with 2011, according to figures published by the Communications Ministry on Thursday. Most of the savings came from wireless phone services, but the amount spent on Internet connections and overseas phone calls also declined. The ministry said industry revenues last year fell 10.7% from 2011, led by a 19.3% drop in cellular phone service revenues thanks to intensified competition introduced in May 2012 by then Communications Minister Moshe Kahlon. In contrast, Internet infrastructure revenues grew by 8%, but Internet service providers suffered a 1.3% decline in revenues, the ministry said. ‏(Amitai Ziv‏)
 

A Samsung Electronics' Galaxy Tab 10.1 tablet